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November 6th, 2010 - 11:19 pm

Footnotes

Col. Chris Gibson ran a brilliant campaign in New York’s 20th Congressional District; although polls had him initially down by a substantial margin, he handily defeated his opponent and now becomes a U.S. congressman — surely one of the most unique representatives in the House of Representatives: decorated combat veteran, distinguished officer, author, professor, accomplished PhD., and of sterling character. Thanks to readers who followed or donated to his campaign.

Riposte Department

From time to time I try to answer charges to set the record straight as carefully as I can sine ira ac studio.

Thomas Ricks

The military correspondent Thomas Ricks recently wrote an off-handed attack on Carnage and Culture (a near decade after its publication and after over 100 reviews had appraised the book), citing the three-year old smear by Robert Bateman (e.g., “Lt. Col. Bob Bateman, who is both an active-duty officer and an academic with terrific credentials in military history, delivered the coup de grace in a series of articles I hadn’t seen until recently…”) (Such as this one.) Of course, three years ago I responded at length to Bateman’s sloppy “coup de grace,”which was posted on the Soros-sponsored Media Matters website, an unscholarly attack that often indulged in the near obscene (e.g., “pervert,” “feces,” “devil,” etc.). I think Ricks is probably responding not to a book I authored a decade ago, but to a more recent scholarly review I wrote of his Fiasco that faulted his chronic use of unnamed and anonymous sources in offering a dismal picture of any chance of restoration in Iraq. I hold no animosity toward Ricks, but I still feel that Fiasco was neither a scholarly book nor fair in its use of evidence. (By the way, “terrific credentials,” of course, means that in his attack on Carnage and Culture Robert Bateman praised Thomas Ricks and objected to my review of his book.)

He’s Back

About once a year I reply to some silly ad hominem piece Andrew Sullivan writes. The latest: In reply to a statement from radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt that I had met with President Bush, Sullivan now writes: “Maybe this doesn’t surprise you. But ponder its implications. George W. Bush could’ve called any man or woman in the United States to his office to get advice. Anyone in the military, any policy expert, the most knowledgeable American in any industry or field of knowledge. With whom did he apparently spend a lot of time conversing? Hanson, Hewitt, and some other talk radio hosts.”

This is adolescent. George Bush was in office nearly 3,000 days. I met with him 4-5 times, always with a group of historians, never one-on-one, rarely on topics only confined to the Iraq War. He often called in dozens of such groups to discuss books, history, and contemporary events. Somehow those visits translate into some wild theory that Bush did not consult hundreds of military analysts, officers, and planners in his thousands of days of governance.

Once again, I confess I do not understand the strange fits of Andrew Sullivan. He once contemplated the use of nuclear weapons against Saddam Hussein; in his Iraq War zealotry he dreamed of a Nobel Prize for George Bush — only to level wild charges of war crimes against dozens of American leaders. Later he peddled despicable rumors about the Palin family pregnancies, cruel and completely erroneous — and this from someone who in the past had pleaded for understanding and a sphere of privacy concerning his own embarrassing sexual escapades, drug arrest, and serial character lapses. His wildly erratic and often gratuitously mean behavior seems inexplicable and well beneath the norms of just those public figures that he so frequently attacks.

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